Construction. The one word every Hoosier loves to hate.

It seems like anymore you can’t travel without running into highway work zones, and it’s only going to get worse.

Thursday, Gov. Eric Holcomb was “incredibly stoked” to announce the state’s five-year, $4.7 billion road maintenance and construction plan.

Indiana Department of Transportation plans to resurface nearly 10,000 miles of roadway and repair or replace about 1,300 bridges with state funding coming from fees including the recent 10-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase.

As current projects continue and new ones begin, drivers can expect to see more road work signs popping up.

While these zones and fluctuation in speeds may be frustrating, there is one thing drivers should really remember while traveling. The construction and highway workers throughout the state are depending on drivers to stay alert.

Drivers often don’t think twice about their speed or checking their phones when rolling through a work zone. I have seen it. My boyfriend, who works as an INDOT intern, has personally experience it.

The workers have families and friends who want them to come home safe every day, so please pay attention.

If that’s not enough, think about the legal consequences.

Under the Indiana Work Zone Safety Law, the state has several penalties for driving infractions within work zones.

First-time citations for speeding in a work zone result in a $300 fine. The cost goes up to $500 for a second offense and $1,000 for a third within three years. 

Those who drive aggressively through a work zone can face fines up to $5,000.

If a highway worker is injured or killed, a driver can end up paying a $10,000 fine and serving up to six years.

Don’t think deaths or injuries happen often?

In 2014, police crash data showed 14 people were killed and more than 400 were injured in INDOT work zones.

This is just not acceptable.

So, when you are traveling through construction expect the unexpected.

Here’s some tips

•Avoid taking your hands off the wheel. Your phone can wait.

•Watch for speed limit reductions and changes in traffic patterns.

•Keep a safe distance on all sides of your vehicle.

•Expect delays and plan ahead. Give yourself some extra travel time.

•Lastly, and most importantly, pay attention to highway workers.

I know construction can be frustrating and it seems like a traffic cone is the new state symbol. But look past the big cranes, trucks and flashing lights. Real lives are depending on you to be smart behind the wheel. Crews are working to make the road better for you, so protect them.

Be patient and stay calm.